2020 Australian Interior Design Awards: Installation Design

Joint winner: The Magic Box by Liminal Objects with Van Tuil

Jury comment

This beautifully austere whisky cabinet is clever in harnessing the power of a single piece of furniture as a social activator and spatial organizer. The jury unanimously agreed it’s an excellent example of how an object can inform and influence the way people interact, which is an integral part of what good design is. It works hard to produce a level of intimacy that absolutely equates to a spatial experience.

More impressively, the cabinet is able to create different environments through its various modes of operation. One jury member thought this was its greatest innovation and also commended the sense of unveiling and discovery it conveys when open. When closed, the cabinet is fully self-contained and easy to transport, which defines the idea of temporary installation in that it can be moved around to different locations. It still has a sense of permanence though, is an incredibly durable product and isn’t wasteful.

Design statement

The Magic Box is the result of a collaborative brief between client and designer, with the aim of taking the taste of Tasmania’s renowned whiskies to the world. The outcome promotes the island’s wealth and calibre of design, materiality and craftsmanship through the presentation of the contents within and the element that houses and exhibits them. Presented as an openable “barrel,” the box encourages exchange and discovery. The charred exterior finish references the traditional use of fire to clean the inside of barrels while providing a protective surface for touring. In presentation mode, the “barrel” opens to reveal the warmth of the Tasmanian oak and golden whiskies. The “petals” pivot outwards and are config-urable to suit the size of the gathering, ensuring intimacy regardless of size. The scalloped circular form softens the relationship between orator and whisky taster, bringing participants together to enjoy the beverages offered as well as the creativity behind the design.

Design practice — Liminal Objects with Van Tuil

Project team — Liminal Objects, Van Tuil Design Studio, VOS Construction and Joinery (builder), Garcia Cesar (graphic designer)

The Australian Interior Design Awards are presented by the Design Institute of Australia and Artichoke magazine. For more images of this project, see the Australian Interior Design Awards gallery.



Published online: 29 May 2020
Words: 2020 AIDA Jury
Images: Peter Whyte


Artichoke, June 2020

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